International Women’s Month Feature: Kara Stevens

by Heather Chadwell-Aminzadeh / Mar 27, 2024

Every March, we celebrate International Women’s Month, a time to honor and celebrate the contributions of women who inspire us, across a broad range of interests and professions. As a female founded and operated company, this women’s empowerment is particularly meaningful to us at SENREVE, and we look forward to highlighting women from our community.




This week, we’re excited to introduce you to Kara Stevens, finance coach, author, and founder of The Frugal Feminista. Kara is a strong believer that “every woman is a revolution unto herself.” She has penned self-help books and conducts workshops that have inspired thousands of women to take ownership over their passions, finances, and relationships.
The Frugal Feminista was founded to help women of color and their allies step into their financial confidence, demolish their debt, and set themselves up to achieve financial ease. Providing coaching, consulting, and training resources, Kara teaches thousands of women to heal and master their relationship with money.




What inspired you to start your business?
I was inspired to start the Frugal Feminista because I was drowning in credit card debt, student loan debt, and feeling rudderless and hopeless.  I just wanted to share my experience of being 20-something and clueless about money in the hopes that it would inspire other women to think about their finances more seriously. 
Little did I know that my message of money management through self-discovery would resonate with so many women of all ages and all backgrounds. When I launched the Frugal Feminista over a decade ago, there weren’t many women talking about the bruises and bandages of their financial journey.
I think my take on personal finances was very human and allowed women to have more hope that they could change their belief systems and in turn, how they managed their money once they healed their relationship with money.

How does your femininity influence your work?
I think my femininity influences how I manage my workload and how I lean into challenges. What I mean by that is that I don’t necessarily plow through my list of things to do everyday. I step back and identify which items feel good to start with/complete as well as their level of importance and I do those first. I also manage my schedule based on my energy and self-care. I leave ample time in the morning for me to exercise and journal before I ever have a meeting.
I also have support. I’ve  hired team members who are geniuses in their areas of expertise so I don’t have to do all of the heavy lifting for the business. I think these are all examples of femininity where flow, support, intuition, and self-awareness play a key role in business operations, company culture, and project management.

In what ways do you aim to celebrate and uplift women through your business?
On the backend, 95 percent of my staff is women, all of whom I pay fairly. In addition to that, my approach to personal finances is rooted in a belief that women deserve rest, ease, abundance and healing no matter the income bracket. 
These beliefs usher in a company ethos where we address the humanity of women in our financial curriculum, retreats, and resources. We never shame or patronize women or repeat gendered stereotypes about money to our community of women. We love women and show them through respecting their intelligence which means always being compassionate and always being truthful (even when it’s hard to hear).

How have you navigated challenges or obstacles as a female founder?
I try to separate the work that I do from the person that I am. When you’re ambitious and driven, you can easily fall into the trap of linking your achievements and accomplishments to your worth – so when things are going well in your business, you feel great about yourself. When things aren’t, you internalize the defeat or failure.
As a way to navigate this internal minefield, I always remind myself that I am worthy because I am. And the work that I do for women is amazing, helpful, and transformative, but I’m not my work. I get to feel good about myself whether we land a lucrative partnership or we don’t; whether our posts go viral or not.
Similarly, I’ve worked with my therapist and business coaches to cultivate a growth mindset which is, viewing challenges as opportunities for growth. Rather than seeing setbacks as roadblocks, I focus on learning from them and continuously improving. This mindset not only helps me navigate difficulties but also keeps me curious and positive in the face of adversity.

What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
I have A LOT of advice. Here are my top 11 tips.

  1. Define Your Why: Clearly articulate why you're starting your business. This will be your anchor during challenging times. Knowing your purpose will keep you motivated and help you communicate your passion to others.
  2. Start Small, Scale Smart: Begin with a manageable scope and gradually scale as you gain experience. This allows you to learn from early challenges without overwhelming yourself or your resources.
  3. Build a Support System: Surround yourself with a network of mentors, fellow entrepreneurs, and supportive friends and family. Seek advice, share experiences, and learn from others who have walked a similar path.
  4. Embrace Continuous Learning: Stay curious and commit to ongoing learning. Attend workshops, webinars, and industry events. Invest time in improving your skills and staying updated on market trends and technologies.
  5. Create a Lean Business Model: Prioritize efficiency and cost-effectiveness in your business operations. Bootstrap where possible, and be strategic about where you allocate your resources. A lean approach fosters sustainability and resilience.
  6. Master Time Management: Develop strong time management skills to maximize productivity. Prioritize tasks, set realistic deadlines, and avoid multitasking. Efficient time use is crucial, especially when juggling multiple responsibilities.
  7. Seek Customer Feedback Actively: Regularly collect and analyze customer feedback. Use this information to refine your offerings and improve customer satisfaction. An iterative approach based on feedback is key to building a successful business.
  8. Cultivate Resilience: Understand that setbacks are part of the entrepreneurial journey. Embrace challenges as opportunities to learn and grow. Cultivating resilience will help you bounce back stronger after setbacks.
  9. Celebrate Achievements, Big and Small: Acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments, regardless of size. Recognizing your successes, even the minor ones, fosters a positive mindset and motivates you to keep pushing forward.
  10. Negotiate with Confidence: Develop strong negotiation skills. Whether it's securing a deal, setting prices, or discussing partnerships, approach negotiations with confidence. Know your value and be assertive in advocating for your business.
  11. Practice Self-Care: Prioritize your well-being. Balancing work and personal life is crucial for long-term success. Schedule breaks, exercise regularly, and make time for activities that bring you joy. A healthy, well-rested entrepreneur is a more effective one.

What are your top three tips for maintaining financial stability? 
I know you asked for three, lol, but here are a few.

  1. Set Clear Financial Goals: Define your short-term and long-term financial goals. This could include revenue targets, savings milestones, and investment objectives. Having a clear vision will guide your financial decisions and keep you motivated.
  2. Build a Solid Budget: Create a detailed budget that outlines your income, expenses, and savings. Monitor your spending regularly to ensure you stay on track. Remember, a well-managed budget is a powerful tool for financial stability.
  3. Invest in Financial Education: Empower yourself with financial knowledge. Attend workshops, read books, and follow financial experts. Understanding the intricacies of finance will give you confidence in making informed decisions for your business.
  4. Prioritize Emergency Savings: Establish an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses. Aim for at least three to six months' worth of living and business expenses. This safety net provides peace of mind and financial stability during challenging times.
  5. Negotiate Wisely: Sharpen your negotiation skills. Whether dealing with suppliers, clients, or investors, negotiating effectively can impact your bottom line. Be assertive, confident, and know the value of your products or services.
  6. Invest in Yourself: Continuously invest in your skills and knowledge. Attend conferences, take online courses, and network with other entrepreneurs. The more you invest in yourself, the more valuable you become to your business.
  7. Network and Collaborate: Surround yourself with a supportive network of mentors, peers, and business professionals. Collaborate on projects, share insights, and leverage each other's strengths. Networking can lead to new opportunities and valuable advice.
  8. Celebrate Small Wins: Recognize and celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. Acknowledging your progress boosts morale and keeps you motivated for the journey ahead. Each success is a step towards financial stability.